It is an old saying that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes. As another year comes to a close I thought it might be useful to reflect on what has occurred in the tax area in the last 12 months, and why perhaps tax is anything but certain!

Some key tax developments over 2016 have been

1. The Kaikoura earthquakes requiring special legislation to ensure the tax system delivered a fair result
2. The Court of Appeal ruling Diamond against the IRD and establishing a sensible interpretation on when someone would be regarded as a New Zealand tax resident
3. The Supreme Court decision in Trust Power creating uncertainty around the deductibility of feasibility expenditure
4. IRD some years after legislation was elected finally telling us how they think you should establish the market value of accommodation
5. The introduction of GST to online services from 1 October 2016 (the Netflix tax) together with a suggestion of lowering the threshold for GST on imported goods
6. An overhaul of some of the tax regimes for SME businesses
7. The IRD moving towards a more modern tax system with greater information sharing and greater use of technology.
8. Continued focus around the world on where multinational corporations pay tax and what is a “fair” amount of tax
9. The introduction of the ability to “cash out” R & D losses for certain entities
10. The introduction of a new residential land withholding tax for non-resident selling land from 1 October 2016
11. Proposed new rules for employee share purchases
12. A media frenzy followed by John Shewan’s report into foreign trust disclosure rules

To name just a few of the highlights.

So the 2016 year has seen the introduction of several new taxes and developments in a wide number of areas. With 2017 as an election year who knows what it might bring, but certainty seems unlikely.

Have a great Christmas and New Year. We will be back in 2017 to keep you up to date in the tax area.